China Airshow Will Unveil J-31

China Airshow Will Unveil J-31

A Chinese airshow official has confirmed that China will unveil its stealthy J-31 fighter aircraft at China’s biggest commercial and defense airshow next week in Zhuhai, in the southern province of Guangdong near Hong Kong.

Known officially as the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, the event will be held from Nov. 11-14. About 700 aviation companies and 120 aircraft will participate.

Built by Shenyang Aircraft, this will be the first public demonstration of the twin-engine J-31. The fighter is similar in configuration to the single-engine Lockheed F-35 stealth fighter. Chinese-language military blogs posted photographs of the J-31 practicing demonstration flights at Zhuhai last week.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) will be exhibiting the JH-7A and J-10 fighters, Z-8KA helicopter, and the upgraded H-6M medium-range bomber capable of carrying cruise missiles. The Hongdu L-15 Falcon fighter trainer is not yet listed nor is there a press conference. Hongdu has made a special effort at other air shows in the Middle East and Asia to promote the aircraft.

There is also no listing for the Pakistan-built JF-17 fighter, which was at the 2012 airshow. However, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) will exhibit the FC-1 fighter, which is a Chinese variant of the JF-17. The fighter is a joint program by Chengdu Aircraft and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.

The Russian-built Su-35 super-maneuverable fighter will be on display for the first time. China and Russia have been in negotiations for a deal on the fighter since 2006 and a signing may be possible in late November.

“As far as I understand now, there will be a contract for 24 aircraft plus some spare engines,” said Vassily Kashin, an expert on Russia’s arms trade with China at Moscow’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. “The negotiations on engine technology transfers are progressing separately, that is a different cooperation area.”

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